I recently attended an industry seminar on how to properly re-negotiate your annual subscription costs with industry analyst firms.
What I took away from it was that, fundamentally, you are not in the position of power you may expect. Successfully negotiating your annual subscriptions with any analyst firm and gaining best 'bang for buck' is a key activity - something that helps define the success of your overall analyst relations programme.
Here are four things to keep in mind when it's time to renegotiate with Gartner (the subject of the seminar), or any other tier one analyst firm:
1. Successfully renegotiating your contract to get the best business value is a common sense move. But the extras can come at a cost - so forecast well!
If you are prepared to do business with Gartner, 451 or their ilk, be prepared to spend as much as 30-40% of your overall analyst relations/competitive intelligence budget on analyst subscriptions.
You may need to factor a bit of 'wiggle' room into your annual budget beyond the base subscription for content marketing rights, webinars, and consulting projects and the like to drive additional value.
If you know of specific campaigns - factor those in! Use the previous fiscal year as a forecasting guide, but come armed with information about how much you are prepared to spend , and act accordingly. That way, you're not left having to scramble to divert budget from elsewhere in order to pay for enhanced services.
2. Set out your plans for renegotiation with your account manager well in advance of any call or meeting
What I mean by this is, if you are contemplating a reduction in analyst spend, prepare your account manager well in advance of a meeting or call. You’ll avoid any undue embarrassment for either side, and everyone present is clear on what objectives are.
Even if your account manager pushes you hard to maintain or even increase spend, dangle the carrot of potential strategic advisory services days or consultancy projects down the road to keep them engaged and interested.
3. Be clear what you are hoping to achieve with your overall industry analyst subscription
Is it just about having plain-old access to analysts for enquiries and strategic advisory sessions? Is it reprints access or the ability to co-run webinars or thought leadership activity?
No matter the analyst firm, be very clear on what your overall objectives are for the programme.
This will not only help you streamline the massive outlay at the start of the year, but will also make for a far more productive working relationship.
Remember, it is a commercial relationship but you need to nurture it by arming the commercial team with as much information as possible, including any increase in the amount of seat-holders, or what you plan to use the information you receive for.
4. Plan in advance of your analyst firms' flagship events
Finally, events have a funny way on sneaking up on you and your CMO.
Don’t be a laggard - start your planning cycles early. This way, you (and your team) are clear on what you hope to achieve at the Gartner Symposium or whatnot, and what success from one of these flagship events looks like. Is it simply to collect business cards or keep an eye on your competitors you know will be there as well as you? Is it to meet your beat analysts face-to-face? Or are you looking to size up a potential M&A prospect?
Whatever it is, it’s worth involving your external PR and analyst relations teams well in advance so they can help you plan and allocate the right creative budgets to get the most out of these flagship events.
Suzannah Archibald is an analyst relations specialist at London tech PR agency CCgroup. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)7432 304301. My thanks to the analyst relations organisation IIAR for the inspiration for this post.